Temples Tour Of India
Sanatan Dharm or Hinduism, unlike other organized religions, doesn't make it mandatory to visit temple but it plays a pivotal role in disseminating positive and constructive values in society at large. Hindus generally go to temples only on auspicious occasions or during religious festivals.Lotus Temple Delhi India It is the meeting place for religious discourses as well as 'bhajans' and 'kirtans'. The architectural evolution of Hindu temple, developed over two thousand years, was strictly defined by religious considerations with ancient basic proportions and rigid forms which remained unaltered over the centuries. But the architect and sculptor enjoyed tremendous freedom to embellish and decorate the temples with prescribed underlying principles and formulae. As a result, the artistic expression of Hindu temples in terms of architectural elements, sculptural forms and decorative opulence have no parallel in the world.
The Hindu temples have been broadly categorized into three styles: the Nagara or 'North Indian' style, the Dravidian or 'South Indian' style and the Vesara or hybrid style prevalent in the Deccan. Though royal patronage contributed a lot to the stylistic development of temples, but contrary to the assumption, different Hindu cults didn't affect the ancient art and architecture paradigm of temples. This can be seen in the identical styles of Hindu and Jain temples.
The most significant visual difference between the Nagar and Dravidian styles are the Gopurams (gateways). In Nagara style, the shikhara (spire) is prominent and the gopuram is usually modest. On the contrary, in Dravidian style, the gopurams are elaborate and magnificent. Use of soft stone material by the Hoysala architects facilitated sculptors to deliver the most intricate and embellished of all Indian styles. Hard granite rocks, typical of the area around Mamallapuram, resulted in lesser detailed carving and shallow reliefs engravings. Where as in areas without stone like Bengal, bricks have been employed to construct temples of very different stylistic characteristics.